Several (4-5) F-FDTL soldiers throughout Timor-Leste have been killed during several different incidents this year. This continues a disturbing string of FALINTIL-FDTL soldier killings over the past few years.
All of the dead from this year were killed while off-duty. It is unknown if the resulted from targeted attacks against F-FDTL, from private issues of individual soldiers, or from a mix of the two. Yet Fundasaun Mahein (FM) is concerned about those Timorese responsible fore the killings. Why do they not respect the institution of FALINTIL? How do they think it is acceptable to target somebody who is a member of the institution of FALINTIL, even while off-duty?
Fundasaun Mahein (FM) is also concerned about the F-FDTL soldiers. Why do these soldiers put themselves in unsafe situations? Why do they not limit themselves, even while off-duty? Why do they risk the integrity of the entire institution of F-FDTL with personal bad choices?
Military soldiers should remember that once they join the military, they are associated with F-FDTL for the entire period of their service. During this period the soldiers are identified with the F-FDTL while on-duty and off-duty. In turn, the reputation of F-FDTL institution depends on each soldier. If civilians distrust the F-FDTL institution, the F-FDTL institution cannot function.
Every year, military men die while they are off-duty. This is not good and cannot continue. Therefore, Fundasaun Mahein makes the following recommendations:
To the Commander of the F-FDTL:
1.) Institute tighter rule with more rigid discipline, even during off-duty hours.
2.) Create F-FDTL military compounds – a gated area where soldiers’ family and relatives can stay together, even during off-duty hours.
To the F-FDTL soldiers:
1.) Do not involve themselves in private conflicts and disputes. They are part of the formal channel of conflict resolution on the national level. They need to encourage other formal channels on the local level, such as with the PNTL. This will enable peaceful resolutions to civil disputes and avoid off-duty deaths of F-FDTL soldiers. It will also boost the reputation of the F-FDTL by further legitimizing formal channels of conflict resolution.
To the PNTL and SED
1.) Conduct investigations and determine why these F-FDTL killings occurred, with political consequences against those behind the killings.